Should a young person seek the counsel of parents and elders about dating?

Should a young person seek the counsel of parents and elders about dating?

In cultures where elders or parents do not arrange a couple’s marriage this is important. The influence of a society that discounts the permanence of marriage will test the strength of a Christian marriage. Finding the right partner is a crucial choice and must be made carefully, yet marriage is a life-long commitment of two who generally have no experience in making such a momentous choice.

How wonderful that Christians have a wise heavenly Father to guide them by means of prayer and His Word! It is never too early in Christian life for a believer to submissively ask the Lord if and whom he should marry (1Pe 5:7). In addition, wise Solomon tells us twice that "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Pro 11:14; 24:6). Parents and elders ought to be people a young person respects for their wisdom and experience. Friends who are both spiritual and objective are also good candidates for inclusion in the "multitude of counselors." The brother and the sister in Christ who begin to keep company are each responsible before the Lord to determine His will for them in this matter (Rom 14:12). They cannot make their choice merely on either the advice of respected counselors or the conviction of their "dating partner" that their relationship is the Lord’s will. The input of others, however, should be weighed carefully, prayerfully, and as objectively as possible. The choice to date is not an irreversible choice, but believers should not make that choice lightly. To be kind and fair to each other, they should choose to spend time together only if each one would consider the other to be a reasonable candidate for marriage. The insights of trusted counselors can be helpful in assessing the prospective partner’s spirituality, personality, capabilities, habits, reliability, family background, and overall compatibility.

Years before dating is an issue, parents and elders can cultivate a relationship with these believers that will foster trust and enable effective and helpful communication in this important area. Before their children are thinking about dating, parents can promote family discussions that will help their children recognize important features they should weigh when thinking of a relationship with prospective marriage partners.

D. Oliver